Vital Signs, a collection of powerful and courageous responses to the human experience of illness

12th October 2022

Vital Signs is a collection of powerful and courageous responses to the human experience of illness and healing. Representing the best of contemporary and classic poetry, it is a book for our times, a book for every reader, and a testament to the value of the imagination in the face of adversity.  

Edited by the award-winning poet Martin Dyar, the book will engage and delight with its varied cross section of first-rate poems.  

Martin Dyar’s inspiring selection includes poems by Leland Bardwell, Eavan Boland, Christy Brown, Raymond Carver, Imtiaz Dharker, Rita Dove, Vona Groarke, Seamus Heaney, Miroslav Holub , Nithy Kasa, Patrick Kavanagh, Paula Meehan, Paul Muldoon, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Bernard O’Donoghue, Diane Seuss, Colm Tóibín, and many more.  

These are poems ranging across centuries, countries and continents that will inspire, comfort and help to endure the difficulties of illness and the processes of healing.  

Judiciously selected and attractively presented, poems by such greats as Seamus Heaney, Seán Ó Ríordáin and Eavan Boland, along with diverse selections by the best of contemporary writers, offer probing accounts of experiences of illness, recovery, and the end of life, as well as the subjects of public health and the coronavirus pandemic; they will also offer a fresh gloss on the meaning of healing.  

It will become an inspirational asset for the people of Ireland, both in artistic terms, and with respect to the human challenge of accepting and discussing illness, healing, and healthcare in more open, reflective, and ultimately healthier terms.    

Vital Signs was launched on Wednesday 12 October and is now available to buy in all good bookshops priced €18, and HERE

Martin Dyar grew up in Swinford, in County Mayo, Ireland. He earned an MA in English literature at NUI Galway and a PhD in English literature at Trinity College Dublin. His debut collection of poems, Maiden Names (2012) was shortlisted for the Pigott Poetry Prize and the Shine/Strong Poetry Award. He won the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 2009 and the Strokestown International Poetry Award in 2001. He has also been the recipient of an Irish Arts Council Bursary Award for Literature. From 2013 to 2014 he was the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature writing fellow at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. He has also held fellowships at the Washington Ireland Program, and the University of Limerick. In 2019-2020 he was the John Broderick writer in residence at the Aidan Heavey Library in Athlone. He is adjunct assistant professor in Medical Ethics and Humanities in the School of Medicine at Trinity College Dublin. 

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